October 13, 2008

Happy and Vigilant Holidays

By Tim Grobaty, columnist

SANTA SECURITY: We love this time of year, which is Christmas. At least, it's Christmas at our desk, which every day sees some bit of holiday joy come across it. In fact, just now comes news that the Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association's (improvement? We liked it the old way) is presenting a free seminar, "Prepare Your Business for the Holidays" on Wednesday morning.

What fun! Will Santa be there? Will it be crawling with elves? No, it'll be crawling with cops. Apparently we're preparing for an onslaught of counterfeiters, shoplifters, inside-jobbers and other criminals who find the holiday season the most wonderful time of the year.

The meeting, to be held from 8 to 9:30 a.m., will be at the Long Beach Police Department's opulent North Division Substation, 4891 Atlantic Ave.

Patrol officers from the great North Division will talk about video surveillance solutions, computer security considerations, anti- counterfeiting methods and other anti-crime subjects.

To reserve a spot, call 562-595-0081.

SCREAMING SANTA: Enough of the laid-back yule carols, we say. It's time to put some heavy tinsel on the tree, and we can't think of a better way to shred up the season than with this year's metal entry, "We Wish You a Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year" (Armoury Records) due in store and online Tuesday.

This collection features such seasonal standards as "God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen,""Silent Night,""Little Drummer Boy," and "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" and others, as deconstructed by icons of headbangery and other forms of rock, including Alice Cooper, John 5, Ronnie James Dio, Dave Grohl, Tony Iommi, Steve Lukather, Steve Morse and many more.

ORGAN-IZED: Is it possible for someone who couldn't watch the Ipecac-drinking contest episode of "The Family Guy" the first 10 times without falling of the couch (even now, this hypothetical viewer still teeters on the edge a bit) to note that 2008 is, in musical circles, The Year of the Organ with anything approaching maturity and grace, or is that asking too much? Do we have to brace ourself for such remarks as "well, that explains all these spam messages for exotic and dubious ointments we've been getting recently" or can we just stick to the fact at hand? And that's that organist phenom and Juilliard student Keenan Boswell and the Poly High Chamber Orchestra will perform in concert at 3 p.m. Sunday at Covenant Presbyterian Church, 607 E. Third St., in Long Beach.

The event, co-sponsored by the Long Beach chapter of the American Guild of Organists, is one of many "Organ Spectaculars" held across the country to celebrate the International Year of the Organ.

A free-will offering will be taken.

BACK TO CHRISTMAS: We don't know how that last non-Christmas- related item snuck into this seasonally themed column. Someone call the North division and have it escorted out of here.

Let's restore order with the first Nutcracker sighting of the young holiday season, and it's the most prestigious of the local versions of the family holiday classic.

Celebrating its 26 th anniversary, this year's performance of "The Nutcracker," as presented by the Long Beach Ballet, produced and choreographed by artistic director David Wilcox, comes to the Terrace Theater on Dec. 20 and 21.

Showtimes are 2 and 8 p.m. both days and the only reason we're blasting you from your slumber right now is to tell you that tickets go on sale today at 10 a.m. at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center's box office, 300 E. Ocean Blvd. You can also buy them at all Ticketmaster locations.

Tickets are priced from $20 to $42 and a VIP ticket (gets you choice center orchestra seating, parking, souvenir program, admission to the VIP lounge during intermission and a backstage pass) goes for $85 for adults; $75 for seniors and $60 for children.

The box office is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday.

[email protected], 562-499-1256

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